Tax convict no show at sentencingBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Saleswoman Gloria Kintanar failed to show up for what should have been her final sentencing for tax evasion at the Court of Tax Appeals on Tuesday, sending word she was suffering from hypertension and dizziness and prompting the court to reschedule the execution of the judgment against her.
The Court of Tax Appeals’ Former Second Division—it is called such for this particular case only because of a change in its composition during the pendency of the case—moved the execution of sentence to Monday on humanitarian grounds but warned that she would be arrested if she failed to show up again, according to Division chair Justice Juanito Castañeda Jr.
The court also issued a hold departure order against Kintanar to ensure that she will not escape punishment, and directed her lawyer Salvador Quebral to verify her whereabouts and see to it that she appear at the next hearing.
In the execution of sentence, the Court of Tax Appeals would enforce its 2009 ruling sentencing Kintanar to two to four years in jail and ordering her to pay P6.3 million in tax deficiencies. The Supreme Court earlier upheld the ruling.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue filed the charges against Kintanar for her failure to file her income tax returns for 2000 and 2001. The BIR said that she had earned a substantial income from being a contractor of Forever Living Products. In her defense, she said that she had entrusted the filing of her income tax returns to her husband, who had hired an accountant to see to the matter.
During the hearing on Tuesday, lawyer Quebral told the court that Kintanar’s husband informed him that she would be unable to attend the hearing because she was ill.
Quebral presented a medical certificate from the Buenamar Medical and Health Clinic which stated that Kintanar was suffering from hypertension and severe dizziness. He told the court that as far as he knew, Kintanar was at home.
He also said he was filing a motion to postpone the proceedings in the case because Kintanar had filed a motion for reconsideration by the Supreme Court as a whole of the Third Division’s ruling that dismissed the petition against her conviction.
He said Kintanar’s petition, which argued that her petition was dismissed on a technicality and should be tackled on the merits, was still pending.
But the court noted that the Supreme Court had already issued an entry of judgment in Kintanar’s case, indicating that the ruling was final.
The BIR’s lead counsel Claro Ortiz objected to Kintanar’s motion to postpone the proceedings in her case. Ortiz told the court that Kintanar’s absence should be deemed a waiver of her right to be present at her sentencing.